Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But, that’s ok. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

-Anthony Bourdain

Thank you for packing us in your suitcase, including us in your travels, for your humanity, stories, humor, words, for urging us to choose the adventure, eat the unfamiliar, explore, and for leaving so much good behind. You were my role model, inspiration, and my always crush.

Rest In Peace.



-The Peace of Wild Things-

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s

lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the

great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with


of grief. I come into the presence of still


And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting for their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am


-Wendell Berry


Happy Earth Day from!



Escape to the Desert (X)

As they do, this week went from “great” to “get me out of here” overnight.  And, so, I got out; out of my apartment, city, and head and into the desert and the awesome Desert X art show.  Desert X consists of 14 installation art pieces in the desert between Whitewater, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, all the way east to Coachella.  And, being the Thursday after the Coachella music festival, I avoided both traffic and crowds and had much of the area almost to myself, a small miracle anywhere in Southern California.

I left LA at 9 this morning and headed to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs to pick up a map of Desert X. Arranged like a scavenger hunt, the maps give you the addresses, intersections or GPS coordinates of each installation but it’s up to you which you want to see and how you do it.  And, since getting in my car with good music, my camera, and the goal of finding something interesting and/or beautiful to look at is basically my favorite thing in the world, this hunt was a dream.


After leaving the Ace, I headed for the Palm Springs Art Museum and Jeffrey Gibson’s tall piece in the Sculpture Garden. It was underwhelming and I quickly left for Rancho Mirage and Sunnyland. Little did I know that Sunnyland is a famed retreat for Presidents and other important people and is where former President Obama presented the Chinese President with a carved redwood bench in 2013 (I sat on it).


There, I saw Lita Albuquerque’s (nice last name Burqueños!) piece titled Earth.


From Sunnyland I headed to Palm Desert and Claudia Comte’s Curves and Zigzags. It hurt my eyes to look at from afar, strobing and giving me a bit of vertigo, but in a good way!


But, the highlight of the day turned out to be Doug Aitken’s Mirage. Located on a hill in Palm Springs, in a residential subdivision where, judging by the no parking signs, the neighbors didn’t seem happy about the crowds flooding into their neighborhood. Models, hipsters, and fellow Instagramers were just beginning to descend, but I got there fifteen minutes before their 3:30 opening time and was able to avoid some of the masses. It was the coolest. A house made completely out of mirrors, inside and out, reflecting all.


Sometimes all it takes is a good scavenger art hunt, or day trip, to both get you out of your head and to get your own creative juices flowing once again.

Back in LA now and all is good.

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A Poem For The Longest Night


By Mary Oliver

You can

die for it–

an idea,

or the world. People
have done so,



their small bodies be bound
to the stake,


an unforgettable

fury of light. But
this morning,

climbing the familiar hills

in the familiar

fabric of dawn, I thought
of China,

and India

and Europe, and I thought

how the sun

for everyone just

so joyfully

as it rises
under the lashes

of my own eyes, and I thought

I am so many!

What is my name?
What is the name

of the deep breath I would take

over and over

for all of us? Call it
whatever you want, it is

happiness, it is another one

of the ways to enter


Happy Winter Solstice!


Quantum Physics, Japanese Culture, and nuclear power are three of the topics that keep popping up in my life lately. Strange! But, also fascinating as I think it’s a good sign whenever similar themes appear repeatedly.

I recently read the books “A Tale For The Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki and “The Woman at Otowi Crossing,” by Frank Waters. And then, for Mother’s Day, my mom wanted to go see the original Godzilla, from 1954.

But, let me back up.

Knowing nothing about it, I bought “A Tale For The Time Being” because I liked its cover. And, as I was reading it, I began working part time on the WGN TV show “Manhattan,” which is based on the Manhattan Project. The book tells the story of two women, Ruth in the Pacific Northwest and Nao in Japan, whose lives are intertwined when Ruth finds Nao’s diary washed up on the beach, sometime after the 2011 Tsunami and nuclear disaster that followed. Without giving too much away, it broaches topics from Buddhism to Quantum Physics and shows how truly interconnected time and lives can be.

While working on “Manhattan,” I became fascinated with this top secret project, which took place in my backyard, literally changing the world forever. Los Alamos is a strange place and one that I’ve taken for granted for most of my life here. Situated less than an hour from both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, it is still home to Los Alamos National Labs, for which it became famous after developing the atomic bomb, used in Japan, to end WWII. As a child I knew it only for its outdoor ice rink, which was always a fun winter field trip. It is a town of gated entrances, official looking blue signs, and the highest per capita income in the country. It was only after watching actors portray scientists and hearing scripted lines spoken, that I realized I wanted to know more about this part of my state and its history.

Frank Waters novel, “The Woman At Otowi Crossing,” is “based on the real life of Edith Warner, who ran a tea room at Otowi Crossing, just below Los Alamos…” Like Ozeki’s book, it also deals with the interconnectedness of cultures and time.

As I was finishing Waters’ novel, Mother’s Day was approaching and I asked my mom what she would like to do. “Go see the original Godzilla in the theater,” she replied. The author George R.R. Martin, a local Santa Fean, recently bought and reopened the local art house cinema and Godzilla was that weekend’s treat. Having never seen it, I went in with all kinds of preconceived notions; B movie, monster movie, bad special effects, etc. I really knew nothing about it. Made in 1954, less than a decade after the bombs fell on Japan, it tells the story of a nuclear monster from the sea, terrorizing the Japanese public. Nothing will kill it. But, when a scientist comes up with a terrible solution, one that will stop Godzilla but could end life as we know it, the movie asks the question “when does the end justify the means and at what point are the means too horrible to justify?”

I was shocked by how great of a movie it was and was surprised by the questions it posed. It fit right into my theme.

I am now reading “American Prometheus- The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. I’m not sure why I’m being drawn to these topics, but for whatever reason I am.

Next up: Quantum Physics For Dummies!


#, @, .com, what’s next?!

I’m a bit late to the party but, as of this morning, I tweet. As in #followsmagikc #notsurehowthisworks #whatsupwithhashtags. For the past year it seems that hashtags have become unavoidable, though I’d been doing my best.

But, when a friend sent me a link to something called #AmtrakResidency and it required a twitter account, a name beginning with @, I decided to become @SmagikC and see what happened.

Looking at my keyboard, I am reminded of how recently the @ or # were only rarely used and that a name ending in .com was unheard of until after I graduated from college. Microfiche, the Dewey Decimal System, and the Post Office were our relied upon systems for information. I wonder which symbols on that keyboard are next up for something no one has imagined yet and how that invention will impact our world.

In the meantime, I plan to #findthebeauty in the everyday, in any way possible.